Would you like more business? Would you like your marketing to be more effective? Unless you’re lucky and you landed a perfect word-of-mouth, self-sufficient campaign – chances are, your marketing takes a lot of work. For most busy marketing professionals and small business owners, those marketing efforts look a lot like elaborate and detailed to-do lists – or worse, they are just ideas in your head, not tracked anywhere.
Have no fear, I have some ideas for you. But before we go there, I want to set a foundation for marketing. There are a LOT of definitions of marketing out there. I agree with a lot of them, but here’s mine:
Marketing is getting the right MESSAGES, through the right MEDIUMS, reaching the right MASSES so you can make MONEY.
All too often, I get phone calls from entrepreneurs across the country saying, “My marketing efforts aren’t working.” or “Facebook doesn’t work for me.”
As I dig deeper, it’s not that the efforts aren’t working it’s that they either:
They don’t have enough lead generation activities going at once, and as a result the pipeline is only dripping business instead of pouring business or
B. They aren’t giving marketing the time, routines and systems needed to do an adequate job.
As long as your marketing efforts are a “To Do List” item instead of a regular routine on a daily, weekly and monthly basis, you won’t see the sustainable results you desire.
Here are some suggestions for regular marketing routines:
– Strategic social media posts (If you need more support with social media, I suggest you watch this video about Focus and Connection in your social media efforts.)
– Relationship building – Though marketing is about mass exposure, building relationships is key for small business relationships. I have “to do’s” to send thank you cards, make calls (actually picking up the phone, not just email, text or facebook) to check in, etc. We’ve all heard the phrase, “People do business with who they know, like and trust.” That happens in one-on-one connections.
– Content creation and posting on your blog or site (at least weekly!)
– Networking meetings – EVERY industry can benefit from personal connections and relationships. I’m a big fan of my BNI group for Doodads, my promotional products company. Other people see success with the local chamber, NAWBO and other association meetings. Make them part of your marketing plan.
– Sales connections/calls – Do you have routines around your cold and warm calls? Generally speaking for every 50 calls you make you’ll have 10 conversations and make 3 appointments. It’s a numbers game. What routines do you need to create (or have your team create) for your outbound one-to-one marketing efforts?
– Exposure through Paid Advertising – Pay Per Click Search Engine and Social Media ads, where appropriate for your business. A lot of these track on a weekly basis.
– Exposure through third party marking outlets like print, broadcast, etc. Most advertising contracts through publications and sites are for monthly contracts.
– Evaluation of the month’s activities – This is a key part of marketing. Ask yourself, “What worked? What didn’t?” for every marketing activity you do. What mediums are working best for you? How do you track it? What MESSAGES are working best for you? Pay careful attention that you could be using the right medium, but the messages are wrong and vice versa. Test messages by using different approaches to see what gets the best results. Social media is great for this. What tweets are retweeted the most? What Facebook posts are being shared the most? How can you duplicate those in the coming months without saying the same thing?
– Creation and brain storming time – Schedule time each month to brain storm new ideas and work on detailing and mind-mapping your ideas. Don’t just have ideas, make them happen!
– Experiential marketing like events, booths, sponsorships, etc. Your clients and prospects want to experience you. They want to test your product or get to know you as the subject matter expert. Whatever your business structure or if you’re B2B or B2C, you need to create experiences.
– PLANNING – It’s in all caps because I feel so strongly about, and I’m surprised how few people are actually doing it. Do you know your marketing objectives for the year? Are you trying to grow your email list, increase the page views on your website, IN ADDITION to your sales goals? If I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a thousand times, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.” Marketing is no exception.
Create a marketing funnel. If you don’t have one, or if this sounds foreign to you, check out this video.
Of course, this is a simplified list, but I think you’ll agree that that the routine and schedule is just as important as the “what”. You’ll have different tasks that are important to you specific to your industry, your business culture, and your current business challenges and success.
What else is on your list?
Once you’ve made your list, SCHEDULE them into your calendar. Your marketing activities are just as important as a meeting with a client or lunch with a friend. If you make time for your marketing, you’ll find you’re a LOT more effective.
Try putting your weekly items on the same day each week. For example, I create my podcast every Monday afternoon and I’ve scheduled time to create and produce each episode. I create videos most Tuesdays. For many years I attended a networking group every Tuesday and I knew that my hair and makeup would be done on those days. (Sometimes as an entrepreneur that has a home office, that’s not always the case!)
For most small business owners, it’s not that they don’t understand marketing, it’s that they don’t make the right time for it. I believe anyone can learn and master marketing, if you just make it a system and prioritize it. (If time management is a bigger challenge for you even beyond marketing, you may enjoy my quick Amazon Kindle read, “The Time Blueprint for Entrepreneurs.”)
Hopefully these ideas get you thinking about marketing in terms of routines and systems that are ongoing and keep your pipeline full. I would love to hear the routines you have in place in your marketing plan. Share your thoughts ideas through our Make It Happen in Marketing Group on Facebook!